Pharmacies are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis in unforeseen ways. Pharmacies are essential, and pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are on the front lines interacting with sick patients every day. Many industries are adapting to new challenges that have arisen from the coronavirus outbreak with innovative tactics. Pharmacists have been called the most accessible health care professionals in the industry. Here are some of the ways pharmacies are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis.
Telepharmacy to the Rescue
Telepharmacies are been gaining popularity and for good reason! Telepharmacies are more accessible, strengthen nurse-pharmacy collaborations, and offer better security and privacy compared to traditional pharmacies. Thanks to services like Zoom and PipelineRX, pharmacists are now able to connect with patients virtually to offer advice and recommendations.
Some pharmacies are adopting delivery services and offering free delivery for patients amid the coronavirus outbreak. Our friends at Balsam Pharmacy are offering free delivery to Illinois residents. Though the app was intended to launch later this Spring, Puerto Rico launched its first home delivery pharmacy program to help patients during the crisis. The app, Triple-S en Casa, offers prescription processing, free delivery, and functions as a medication manager.
Protections for Pharmacists
Many pharmacies are taking extra precautions and implementing strategies that assist with flattening the curve. Plexiglass screens, sneeze guards, masks, checklists, and other protections are making their way into pharmacies across the globe.
Walmart, CVS, and other major retailers are implementing these strategies but there are multiple reports that some retailers aren’t taking proper precautions. In the Facebook Group ‘Pharmacy Staff for COVID-19 Support’ the creator of the group Stephen Meyer wrote, “I am demanding large retail chains and Vice President Pence’s Coronavirus Task Force make immediate changes by providing PPE for pharmacy personnel, or in the absence of PPE making all pharmacies in the United States “drive-thru/delivery only.”
In an article by the New York Post a New York pharmacist said they were offered no hand sanitizer and was quoted saying, “Thousands of people are coming into the store and touching the pin-pads and there is nothing to clean them with.”
Pharmacists are remaining innovative amid the COVID-19 crisis. Dan Steiber from Pharmacy Times believes now is the time for pharmacists to remind the masses of the unique services pharmacists offer. In addition to providing medicine to patients, pharmacists serve as informers and offer support to the public. It is hoped that the highly regulated industry will have reduced red tape so pharmacists can provide more care to patients and possibly even administer COVID-19 rapid diagnostic tests once they’re developed.
“Now is the time for pharmacists to stand even taller and provide more help to their communities. Let us use this time to not only serve our patients, but also to be a test case to demonstrate our full capabilities.” – Dan Steiber, RPh, Pharmacy Times